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And Stephanie found herself wondering: Was this guy telling the truth? Was he making up a story so he could take advantage of my fears about yellow fever and try to be a hero so he could hit on me?
She couldn’t decide whether to be grateful or terrified.
And that’s when they’ll find out that I have teeth.
On this week’s episode of the Reply All podcast, This American Life producer Stephanie Foo talks about the particular difficulty of online dating as an Asian woman. The images were of John and another woman, kissing. Just as Suzanne was clicking through the photos, messages meant for John popped up on the screen. She sent out a mass message to John’s female Asian Facebook friends telling them what she learned. He built up a cadre of several women — all Asian — and then he would get found out, they would all go their separate ways, and he would begin anew.
Suzanne texted John demanding he return home immediately. Suzanne discovered that her loving, loyal boyfriend had been dating multiple women simultaneously.
The profile was filled with warnings: "I’m a serial cheater." "If you see me on here don’t date me."Ok Cupid removed their profile, but not before several women reached out and thanked Suzanne for warning them. But she says that she’s always on high alert with online dating, because of what she calls "yellow fever" — the tendency of guys to fetishize her for being Asian.
She says her OK Cupid inbox is full of guys emailing her about how “exotic she looks, or about her "almond eyes," and how it all seems to feed into particular stereotypes about Asian women. It makes dating, especially dating online very difficult.
Online dating can be anxiety inducing, demoralizing, and just plain horrible. Suzanne describes John as sweet, loyal, and spontaneous: one of the best boyfriends she’d ever had. And all of these women had one thing in common: every single one was Asian.The interactions can be painful, and it takes a ton of interaction with sketchy, profane or just uninteresting people to find someone who might be a good match. John offered Suzanne keys to his apartment, they went furniture shopping together, they even made a date out of a trip to the DMV. Until one day, she discovered a stash of photos on John’s computer. When Suzanne left John’s apartment she was determined to warn every Asian woman he knew in case John was secretly dating them too.